When buying a used car, always:
- Ask to see proof of the seller's identity and address - an official letter or driving licence, for example
- Make sure the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches that on the registration document
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer.
Finding the VIN:
- Stamped on the body chassis or frame
- On a manufacturer's VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors
- On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen - this is called a visible VIN
When buying a car, always check that the VIN has not been tampered with and that it matches that on the registration document (V5).
- Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details. Buy a car without the registration document (V5) - make sure it has a DVLA watermark and has not been altered in any way
- View a car before you've read "The Car Buyers Guide" - we suggest you take a copy with you as a reminder to ask the right questions
Buying a new car
We advise you to consider the following security features:
- Electronic engine immobilisation
- Locking wheel nuts
- Secure in-car entertainment
- Lockable fuel caps
- Central locking
- Security etching
You should ensure your car has as many of these features as possible. Speak to your insurer about security - some systems may reduce your premium.
Think about fitting a vehicle tracking system if you are buying a particularly expensive car or one that might be attractive to thieves.